PKK ( "Workers' Party of Kurdistan") is categorized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. The group resumed its thirty-year long armed campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015.
Since then, the PKK terrorist attacks killed over 800 members of Turkish security forces. They have also killed more than 350 civilians, including one hundred children. At least 8700 PKK terrorists were killed in army operations during the same period.
Police forces and the Turkish army launched attacks against positions of the separatist terrorist organization PKK and pursue its armed members in the south and southeast of the country and in northern Iraq in response to terrorist attacks by the organization within Turkey, which target civilians and members of security forces.
Ayşe Hümeyra Atılgan, Turkey (AA) - At least seven PKK terrorists were "neutralized" during security operations in the southeastern province of Tunceli, the regional governor’s office said late Tuesday.
An air-supported anti-terror operation started in the Bali Deresi region Nov. 7 after security forces located a group of terrorists, the office said in a written statement.
Seven bodies, including one female, were found in a field, following the operation, and sent to Tunceli State Hospital for preliminary autopsies.
Security forces seized infantry rifles, other heavy weapons and mines. Two shelters used by the terrorists were also destroyed.
The operation in the region remains ongoing, the statement said.
AA - Van (Turkey) - Cemal Aşan, Zafer Tayfur, Ayşe Betül Gedikoğlu, İbrahim Yakut, Hatem Katou - Three village guards and a civilian were killed in a terrorist attack perpetrated by the PKK in Baskale district of Van province in south-eastern Turkey, have we learned from local official source.
This is what emerges from a statement released Wednesday by the Van governship.
"An armed attack was committed by members of the terrorist organization PKK on Wednesday at around 16:00 (local time), against a bus carrying civilians," reads the statement. .
"Three village guards and a citizen were killed inside the bus and two other civilians were wounded," the statement added.
"The injured were taken care of and a search operation was launched in the area to find the perpetrators of the act," the statement concluded.
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Ahmet Sait Akçay, Hale Türkeş - Turkey (AA) - A village chief was found shot dead Wednesday after having been abducted by the PKK terrorist organization 45 days ago in the eastern province of Bitlis, the governor's office confirmed.
According to initial reports, Salih Guven, the chief of Boluklu village in Hizan district was abducted from his home on Sept. 25 by a group of PKK terrorists, and was found shot dead Wednesday morning, the statement said.
Guven's body was found near Hizan upon a tipoff, and the body was later identified by Guven's relatives in hospital, it added.An investigation has been launched into the incident.
Sibel Uğurlu, Can Erözden - Declan Mcveigh (AA) - The circumstances surrounding the defeated July 15 coup attempt dominated a report released Wednesday on Turkey’s progress in joining the EU.
The annual assessment noted the attempt to overthrow the government “represented a direct attack on democracy in Turkey” and said the EU had “strongly and immediately” condemned the bid by some sections of the military to seize power.
However, it said the “scale and collective nature” of measures taken by the government since the failed coup -- arrests and detentions, dismissals and suspensions over alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- led to EU calls for Turkey to “observe the highest standards in respecting the rule of law and fundamental rights”.
The report added: “Any allegation of wrongdoing should be established via transparent procedures in all individual cases. Individual criminal liability can only be established with full respect for the separation of powers, the full independence of the judiciary and the right of every individual to a fair trial, including through effective access to a lawyer.”
It said several key pieces of legislation regarding the rule of law and fundamental rights, such as data protection, were not in line with European standards.
Wednesday's report also described the lifting of parliamentary immunity and the subsequent arrest and imprisonment of lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party as “a matter of grave concern”.
The EU also noted the suspensions and arrests of some local elected officials in Turkey’s southeast under emergency powers introduced after the coup attempt. The conflict in the southeast could only be solved by political means, the report added.
There had been “serious backsliding” over the past year on freedom of expression, the report claimed.
-Terrorism, reform, Cyprus-
However, Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik criticized the report as having been “written with a sense of not to serve… Turkey-EU relations” and was “far from the spirit of accession negotiations”.
He told a news conference in the capital Ankara the report should have consolidated Turkey’s relationship with the EU, offered guidance and constructive advice and paved the way for negotiations.
Instead, Celik said, the document failed to properly evaluate Turkey’s fight against terrorism and progressive steps towards reform.
“We do not accept the viewpoint that disproportionate force is used in the fight against the PKK,” he said, referring the terrorist organization recognized as such by Turkey, the U.S. and EU.
Referring to reforms needed to qualify for EU accession, the report said Turkey is “moderately prepared” in public administration reform while the judiciary was at an early stage of preparation although there had been “backsliding” following the attempted coup.
Corruption remains “prevalent in many areas and continues to be a serious problem,” the report claimed.
In the fight against terrorism, plans to tackle illegal financing were in place and Turkey had stepped up its involvement in the international coalition against Daesh.
Turkey continued to support talks for a Cyprus settlement, for which its contribution “remains crucial”, the report added.
In the economic sphere, Turkey’s economy is “well advanced and can be considered a functioning market economy” although a large foreign deficit makes it vulnerable to financial uncertainty, changes in investors’ sentiment and political risks.
The report said Turkey was well-prepared to cope with EU market forces.
-Fight against PKK, Daesh-
Regarding fight against terrorism, the report said Turkey had been struck by several large-scale deadly terrorist attacks attributed to the PKK and Daesh, which were promptly condemned by the EU.
Pointing out that Turkey "has a legitimate right to defend itself against such terrorist violence", the EU warned that measures taken needed to be proportionate.
"Turkey has been giving priority to the PKK, particularly following a severe surge of violence in the country since July 2015," the EU said, adding that Turkey had addressed the terrorist threat from Daesh "more vigorously".
Recalling that Turkey joined the international coalition to counter Daesh in September 2014, the EU said terrorist attacks by Daesh caused Ankara to strengthen its engagement with the coalition and to launch several airstrikes plus Operation Euphrates Shield against Daesh positions in Syria.
"Turkey also maintained an agreement with the U.S. on the use of the Incirlik base for the coalition forces," the EU said. "Turkey has improved its means of combating the financing of terrorism."
However, the EU criticized Turkey's anti-terror laws and claimed their implementation was "not in line with the acquis".
Praising Turkey's outstanding efforts to provide shelter to about three million refugees from Syria, Iraq and other countries, the report said an agreement on March 14 between Ankara and the EU "delivered many of its expected results".
"However," the report added, "success remains fragile so far".
The EU recommended Turkey over coming year continue to implement the refugee deal plus an EU-Turkey readmission agreement. It also said personal-data protection had to be in line with European standards and cooperation established with Europol.
Wednesday’s report also called for Turkey to bring anti-terror legislation into line with European practices.
- Ayşe Hümeyra Atılgan & Ümit Dönmez & Ahmet Sait Akçay & Sibel Uğurlu & Can Eroözden
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